Sweet Tea aka Southern Iced Tea

Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF
My daddy was a good old boy who married a northerner. I was born in DC and raised in northern Virginia but every summer I spent a good bit of time in southwestern Virginia were the accents are real thick. Even when I wasn't in the true south (if you didn't know it, Virginia is a southern state, that means the entire state), I was around family who spoke with that drawl.

At the beginning of summer I was teased by the southerners for my lack of an accent. When school started, the taunts would continue because I had slowly acquired the distinctive southern speech and would just as slowly lose it throughout the coming weeks.

My children never heard my father speak; he died when my oldest was just an infant. Though they have got to hear many stories about him and have not missed that southern speech as they hear amusing tales from my dad's sister, Aunt Lou. Needless to say, no one has ever mistaken them for a southerner.

They may not be truly southern, but they like their sweet tea. I have noticed that it is quite popular, even for sale in the grocery stores. My daughter recently went off to college in the north west. And to her dismay, they have no sweet tea out there. If you find yourself in that predicament and care for a cold glass, it's easy as pie.

Sweet Tea
1 gallon cold water
4 family sized tea bags or 8 regular tea bags
1 1/2 cup sugar

Begin with cold, fresh water. Spring or well water is preferred.

Tie tea bags together to make it easier to remove after steeping.

Bring water to a boil in a nonreactive pot. Remove from heat. Dip tea bags in water and steep for 5-7 minutes, the longer the stronger the flavor. At the end of steeping, dunk the tea bags up in down in the hot water for an extra 30 seconds. Remove.

Raw sugar has a stronger flavor than white. Adding sugar while the tea is still hot allows it to easily dissolve, capturing all the rich flavor of the raw sugar.

Stir in sugar to dissolve.

Allow to cool and serve over ice.

If you can, sit on a porch in a swing and enjoy some old stories; it makes it even sweeter.


  1. I grew up on sweet tea since my Dad is from Texas. Boy was it sweet and my Mammy made it even sweeter. My Mammy and Papaw lived in Borger, Texas were the tap water tasted terrible but for some reason it made the best sweet tea. I think Mam added closer to 2+ cups of sugar to her tea-yeah it was painfully sweet- but so good. Sweet memories.

  2. Oh I am going to definitely make some of this. Your daughter is correct, sweet tea really isn't a common treat up here in our neck of the woods. Thank you for sharing the recipe, and the story -- it was sweet.


Catching my breath. Be back ASAP.